The U.S. Soccer Federation has unanimously voted not to sanction either the USL First Division or the new North American Soccer League as a Division II league for 2010, and it has given all parties involved seven days to come up with an “interim solution.”
In other words, the USSF has told these kids to stop fighting or they’ll turn this car around right now. And they really mean it this time!
I fail to see how this decision will help to advance the Association game in America. What the USSF has done is force all parties involved to slap together a plan that none of them want, and what we’ll be left with is a 2nd division league that will be little more than a joke. What’s more, if this decision forces the breakaway NASL clubs back to USL, you can guarantee that a number of those NASL clubs will shut it down in 2010 rather than return to USL — assuming USL even lets them return at all.
Also, it’s entirely possibly the USSF just forced at least one club (Minnesota Thunder) out of business all together with this decision.
Perhaps the lawsuit-happy nature of the USL forced the USSF into this decision. We all know how FIFA feels about legal action in football. Still, forcing both sides to compromise seems certain to result in a number of clubs canceling their seasons, which would leave a lot of supporters with nothing to support in 2010. Again, how is this any good for the game in America?
UDPATE (4:10 PM): Goal.com editor Andrea Canales is writing that the USSF refused to sanction the NASL in order to project Major League Soccer. Sadly, this seems quite plausible. Nothing scares MLS more than a rival league; it’s why they chose USL strongholds Portland and Vancouver in the last round of expansion. A resurrected NASL, even as a 2nd division league, must scare the shit out of MLS.